Advocacy Alert: Federal Bills on Recovery Residences

December 13, 2018

HB 4684: Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018

On December 19, 2017, Representative Judy Chu and 18 other Representatives introduced HB 4684.

The bill, if passed, would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify or facilitate the development of best practices for operating recovery housing. The bill would amend Part P of title III of the Public Health Service Act, and would allow stakeholders such as the National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) to create these best practices. It also defines the term 'recovery housing' as "a shared living environment free from alcohol and illicit drug use and centered on peer support and connection to services, including medication-assisted treatment services, that promote sustained recovery from substance use disorders."

The bill passed the House on June 12, 2018, and moved to the senate where it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. No other action has been taken.

BHAP supports this bill. It would help the recovery residence industry better define its purpose among government agencies and also issues funds to create an understanding of this critical part of the SUD continuum of care.

We encourage you to reach out to your representative and express your support of HB 4684.

SB 2828: Sober Home Fraud Detection Act

On May 10, 2018, Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson introduced SB 2828.

The bill, if passed, would develop and identify indicators of potentially fraudulent and disreputable recovery housing operators. The bill would have the Department of Health and Human Services consult with several entities in carrying out these activities.

Factors to be considered would include:

  1. unusual billing practices;
  2. average lengths of patient stays that are longer than the norm;
  3. excessive levels of drug testing (in terms of cost or volume);
  4. unusually high levels of recidivism;
  5. if the recovery housing operator is located in a geographic area identified by the Secretary as having a high level of health care fraud; and
  6. any other factors identified by the Secretary.

It was introduced on May 10, it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. No other action has been taken.

BHAP opposes this bill. Recovery housing, by definition, is not a licensed activity. As such, there are no billing practices, longer-than-average occupancies, or excessive levels of drug testing in these environments.

We encourage you to reach out to your representative and express your opposition of HB 4684.

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